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Publisher's Summary

A young boy is haunted by a voice in his head in this "haunting and thrilling" (John Green) epic of literary horror from the number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Christopher is seven years old.

Christopher is the new kid in town.

Christopher has an imaginary friend.

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her child. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It's as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out. 

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again. 

Twenty years ago, Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower made audiences everywhere feel infinite. Now, Chbosky has returned with an epic work of literary horror, years in the making, whose grand scale and rich emotion redefine the genre. Listent to it with the lights on.

©2019 Stephen Chbosky (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Imaginary Friend has been a long time coming. And like a fine Bordeaux, it rewards that wait in countless ways. This is a fearsome, remarkably ambitious novel that breaks through the boundaries of the horror genre to become epic - in all the best senses of the word." (Lincoln Child, number-one New York Times best-selling coauthor of Verses for the Dead and City of Endless Night)

"If you aren't blown away by the first fifty pages of Imaginary Friend, you need to get your sense of wonder checked." (Joe Hill, number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Fireman and NOS4A2)

"Imaginary Friend is a sprawling epic horror novel that hearkens back to the classics of the 1970s Golden Age, but, like Stranger Things, with a twinkle in its malevolent eye. Enormous, scary fun." (Dan Chaon, best-selling author of Ill Will)

A Literary Hub Most Anticipated Books of 2019

What listeners say about Imaginary Friend

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Perfect Narration!

This was a perfect October read. Eerie, creepy, scary, but not too gory. What made this book great was the narrator. Christine Laken did a phenomenal job! Her voice was a major part of the experience. She voiced every character uniquely and embodied every sound effect. I listened to this alone at night and definitely felt creeped out. The book was a little too long, but Ms. Laken made every minute enjoyable.

37 people found this helpful

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Unfinishable

This book seriously required an editor. It started out pretty good, was engaging for about 14 hours, and by hour 20, I was absolutely done with it. The narrator did a good job with the different character voices, but the repetitive themes that might’ve worked in a book were grating in an audiobook.

34 people found this helpful

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Way too much religious overtone. Very repetitive.

Great ground work, however the author's constant repetition and religious references made me long for an ending

29 people found this helpful

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Just Not Good

Steve made it half-way through this and couldn't go on. Steve thought, "This is really bad." Steve scratched his arm. Steve thought that the end had to be coming, he looked, and there was still 12 hours to go. "I can't do this for another minute," Steve thought. Steve scratched his other arm. The Perks of Being a Wallflower was so good. Why is this so bad. Steve didn't understand. Steve also didn't understand how this got published. The Hissing Lady must've eaten the publisher. Steve scratched his arm again. This example above, though slightly exaggerated, is what this book was like, Only instead of Steve, you get names like Christopher's mom, The Hissing Lady, The Sheriff, and of course Special Ed (yes the name repeated over and over for one of the other 'slow kids' in Christopher's class. If you can get past the name thing and suspend disbelief of how mature a 7 year old boy can be, the book didn't start out too bad. but by about hour 7 it got to be too much... and too repetitive... and too much scratching.

21 people found this helpful

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One of the scariest books I've heard in years

I went into this not really knowing anything about the author or the premise. I never read "perks of being a wallflower" and didn't hold out excessive hope for being truly scared a la "the shining." Also, it's a verrrrrry long book. This is something I typically prefer but wasn't sure how a horror novel could sustain itself over so many hours. I. Loved. It. I'd rather not give anything away about the plot because I think that part of my enjoyment came from having no expectation. I will say that I thought the pacing was excellent and the narration superb. I cared about all of the characters and could easily tell them apart by the voice acting. The moments which were meant to be tense absolutely were and when it was meant to build or fall, it did. If it were made into a television show, this book could easily last three seasons- there is a LOT of time and story covered. Although, if you're like me and have a lengthy commute, you wont mind a bit. Unfortunately, I did find that my 5am dog walks on a long dark road, with woods on either side, became less enjoyable. Highly recommended.

54 people found this helpful

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Truly a marvel. Recommended!

I'm blown away by the imaginative storyline, but also seriously impressed with the readabilty (or listenability) of this book. Although the style is ultimately unique, with character-inner-dialogue reminiscent of Stephen King, plot elements reminiscent of Dean Koontz, and a depth and detail that reminds me of Peter Straub, I will now buy any future work of Chbosky's! If you enjoy horror stories and parallel realities, this is a must-read!

49 people found this helpful

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Not as Good as it Sounds

This synopsis had me HOOKED. I was so excited for this book. About a third of the way through it started dragging so so badly. There about 30 (THIRTY!) middle chapters that could have been completely cut from the book and it would have been so much more enjoyable. This is probably the first Audible title I’ve ever bought and thought, “Good God, when is this going to end!?”

32 people found this helpful

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I wanted to like this book.

I tried. I really did. For the first few hours I loved it. I praised the author for the depth of storytelling. “As good as Stephen King,” I thought. But then it just went downhill. It went on an on. And on. Kate was hardly ever referred to by name and I became weary of hearing, “Christopher’s mother...” It’s very rare that I don’t finish a book, even if I’m not particularly enjoying it. But I still have ten hours left and I just don’t think I can do it. The saving grace of the book is the narration. She is really wonderful. Pace, cadence, and character are spot on.

12 people found this helpful

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if you love Stephen King, you'll love this

This is like an epic Stephen King book. In the battle between good and evil, there are many climaxes and battles so try not be get frustrated by the length. There are many religious references so try to be open-minded instead of offended. I really loved this book.

32 people found this helpful

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Amazing

loved this just got done reading the institute by king so my expectations were high for another great book and this did not disappoint. pulled me in right off the bat and never let go!

33 people found this helpful